By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A mix-up between Fort Meade and media outlets inadvertently triggered a false alarm about an active shooter Thursday at the U.S. military installation.

Authorities at the installation in Anne Arundel County held an annual training exercise Thursday morning to test the garrison’s readiness for an emergency. But even though the drill was publicized in advance, a tabloid following up on the activity published a report stating that a gunman had opened fire at Fort Meade, resulting in “multiple casualties.”

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In a news release distributed hours later, public affairs staff chalked up the confusion to a misunderstanding between the installation and media that were believed to be part of the exercise.

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“Fort Meade routinely practices how it would report incidents to media during its exercises. Today’s incident was an unfortunate miscommunication between the installation and a few media outlets believed to be notional,” Chad Jones, a spokesperson for Fort Meade, said. “I apologize for the confusion.”

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The release stated that even though the public was notified of the training exercise beforehand, Fort Meade’s public affairs office would “use this unfortunate incident to ensure it is better prepared in case a real-world incident does arise.”

CBS Baltimore Staff